France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) has contracted Safran Electronics & Defense to consider the future integration of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) into the wider Scorpion soldier modernisation programme.
Project ‘Furious’ will comprise a five-year contract, worth an undisclosed sum, designed to “lay the groundwork for the integration of land robots” into the French armed forces.
As systems integrator, Safran will seek additional expertise from academia and small- to medium-size enterprises, although the company has yet to cement any negotiations with sub-contractors.
A company statement explained how the project would focus on a series of ‘core areas’ including: navigation, electro-optical (EO) systems, and safety critical electronics systems.
“The DGA’s 'Furious' project will involve the development of three robot demonstrators of different sizes and with different mission profiles for a variety of environments,” the statement reads while highlighting urban reconnaissance and load carriage for dismounted close combat personnel.
Technology demonstrators will then conduct a series of field trials with a French Army infantry platoon in order to test a series of configurations and mission profiles, Safran added.
The effort revolves around the operation of small, medium and large UGVs with the latter being Safran’s own eRider platform, which has been developed in tandem with Valeo and PSA.
Jane’s has learned that the small and medium UGVs will be provided by Sominex (which specialises in autonomous support in energy and defence markets) and Kompai (specialising in automation for medical care), although neither Safran nor the DGA were available to provide further details of these platforms. Additional partners include Effidence, Technical Studio, and 4D Virtualize.
Academic support will be provided by the National Centre for Scientific Research, the Pascal Institute, IRSTEA, Mines de Paris Engineering School, and LORIA.
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